“Pairs of lovers” represent a central subject matter in the history of art. For as long as art has existed, art and love have themselves been involved in a relationship of sorts. Artistic creation often is and often has been shaped by the synergies of artist couples: For example, Picasso and Françoise Gilot as well as Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock have been and remain as important and influential for painting as Lee Miller and Man Ray for photography. In the exhibition accompanying the launch of UPON PAPER Magazine Issue 03, whose theme is Lovers, artists have channeled their own very individual perspectives on this theme into highly diverse works — utilizing all of the possibilities that the space offers for their presentation.
Jordan Tiberio’s infatuated gaze of a young woman at her beloved, for example, is accompanied by her yearning for someone who lives so far away from her. Her photographs are marked by a sense of melancholy, and they communicate how close the two are in spite of their geographical distance: They seem to try to emotionally foreshorten this physical distance. The photographic memories of Gavin Watson are a look back — without anger — at someone who was once very close to him. Once again not lacking a sense of melancholy, these photos present a painful record of the transience of romantic relationships. Kate Bellm and her boyfriend Edgar Lopez have created two installations for UPON PAPER. They represent their relationship by means of powerful images presented in real space, and it submerges us within the very distinctive world of their companionship.
Hans Peter Adamski, professor of painting and graphic arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden, belonged to one of the most important artists’ groups among the Neue Wilden of the 1980s: Cologne’s Mühlheimer Freiheit. And it was also in Cologne that he created these wonderful works, which present the erotic aspects of intimate companionship with great sensitivity. They also indicate the global nature of this phenomenon in their own idiosyncratic way — they were created on the pages of a world atlas.
James Gallagher’s collages likewise represent such images of companionship; they playfully illustrate this theme’s all-too-human yearning and symbolically manifest it on paper. At the same time, these works indicate the subversive potential inherent to passion and the erotic. As a draftsman, Philip Loersch from Berlin is intrigued by the countless possibilities of paper. His masterly command of the pencil turns each of his naturalistic drawings into a lesson on reality and deception. For UPON PAPER, Philip produced a special kind of break-up note – a reminder that drawing and writing have been closely related to each other ever since.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Kandis Williams attended the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. Today she lives and works in Berlin. Using the copying machine as a virtuoso plays his Stradivari, Kandis created two works specially for UPON PAPER that bring up questions of intimacy and trust as well as they show that — like a palimpsest — the character of a relationship is constantly recreated and overwritten in memory.
Alongside video works by the Berlin-based filmmakers Claire Kurylowksi and Matt Lambert as well as Camille Vivier, a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, James Franco’s award-winning short film The Feast of Stephen, which is based on a poem by the Pulitzer-Prize-winner Anthony Hecht, testifies to the fact that individual ideas regarding the longed-for romantic relationship can produce very different “mental images”. In most cases, these remain fictional — just like the images generated on the screens by the works shown here.
Holger Homann, Curator